Forbush High School exceptional children’s teacher Claire Hawks has been named Yadkin County Schools’ Exceptional Children Teacher of Excellence for the 2017-2018 school year. She will be recognized at the 67th annual Conference on Exceptional Children in November.
Hawks is known by both colleagues and students alike as a deeply caring and capable teacher, encouraging every student to leave labels and past negative experiences at the classroom door. She believes in celebrating every success, regardless of how big or small, and often reminds her class every student has talents.
“I want to make a difference in the lives of the children I teach,” Hawks said. “I will be their defender and protector while they are in my care. I will show them they are important and special. I want the child who has never felt successful to feel like the smartest kid in the class, and to pull that quiet child, afraid to speak in fear of being wrong, out of his shell.”
Hawks emphasizes she wants her students to strive to know their self-worth, love learning, respect others, and have confidence in their own abilities and achievements.
She graduated from Lees-McRae College in 2010 with summa cum laude honors. She holds licenses in elementary education K-6, general curriculum K-12, as well as special education mild to moderate. Teaching is truly her passion.
She began her teaching career in Surry County Schools, and then went on to work in Stokes County, landing in Yadkin County Schools in the fall of 2014. She said she loves working with her students at Forbush High School and considers it an honor and privilege to be able to do so.
Kristi Gaddis, executive director of Student Services for Yadkin County Schools, knows full well that Hawks is very deserving of being named this year’s Teacher of Excellence. “Claire provides a welcoming, safe, and caring classroom for all students to learn and develop skills necessary to have successful lives post-graduation. She has taken the Life Skills program at Forbush High School to a new level of excellence.”
Hawks lives with her husband, Ronnie, a retired state parks system mechanic, in Pinnacle. They have three grown children. In her spare time, she enjoys drawing and painting.
Tiiu Kai Garrett is with Yadkin County Schools.